Ice Cube Explained Why He Wouldn’t Let Shaq Release A Song Called ‘That’s Gangsta’ With Dr. Dre


Shaq is one of the all-time greatest athletes turned rappers, as the big man’s 1993 debut album, Shaq Diesel, went platinum. Shaq released four albums in total, and worked with some of the biggest producers and artists in hip-hop in the 90s.

However, there was one collaboration from a song he recorded with a West Coast legend while in Los Angeles with the Lakers that never saw the light of day. On a recent episode of The Big Podcast, Shaq had Ice Cube join him and they discussed a project Cube was executive producing for him while he was with the Lakers. Cube set it up for Shaq to get in the booth with Dr. Dre, and Shaq and Dre cooked up a song called “That’s Gangsta,” which Shaq thought “was nice.” Cube saw things a bit differently, and made the executive decision for Shaq to not let it ever see the light of day.

“Cube was executive producing one of my records,” Shaq said. “And he put me in the studio with Dr. Dre. I did a song called ‘That’s Gangsta’. Cube heard it and was like, ‘Nope. We’re not releasing this.’ … He was like, ‘Shaq, you’re a f*cking Laker, bro. I don’t want you talking about nothing gangsta. We not doing none of that sh*t.’ And it never came out.”

While Adam Lefkoe seemed to think it was because the song wasn’t good, Cube noted it had nothing to do with that. He was trying to protect Shaq’s image, noting the then-Lakers star didn’t need to present himself as being “gangsta” in L.A., as he had mass appeal already and didn’t need to try to put on that image.

“It was good. Shaq is a dope MC, but I just felt the record was off-brand for him,” Cube said. “Because, to me, he’s more than just gangsta. He’s loved by millions, loved by kids. He already established that. And why go backwards when you’re already forward?”

Shaq would go on to note he thanked Cube for making that decision for him, and it shows how much respect Ice Cube had for Shaq that he would think about Shaq’s overall career as a basketball player (and one of the NBA’s most marketable guys, ever) while executive producing an album. Players don’t always have someone willing to think of the bigger picture and tell them no, and in this case, Shaq had that in the form of a music legend in Cube.